Have you ever traveled to Mexico and come home absolutely wishing you could find amazing, authentic Mexican food in your city? And I mean, real Mexican food, not the crap served at a buffet in a all-inclusive resort. Well, if you live in the Toronto area, consider yourself “Foodie Blessed” as you can enjoy the most tasty and authentic Mexican food the city has to offer. Think delish bocaditos (appetizers), fab enchilladas, blissful tacos, gargantuan burritos, fresh ceviche and guac with the most sinful margaritas you will ever have in your life. Playa Cabana serves up everything you love about Mexico minus the beach!
I miraculously got in a few Thursdays ago and was more than eager to see what all the hype was about. Each time I drive by the Dupont St. location (the first to be opened), there is always a line up to get inside. Even with a reservation booked two weeks in advance, I still had to wait 30 minutes to be seated (clearly the drinks and comforting food make patrons not want to leave) – HOWEVER after tasting one of their signature margaritas, the memory of waiting disappeared and I was suddenly transported to South American culinary heaven.
With my continued effort to eat clean (when I can), Playa Cabana kind of provides an environment for guilt free eating. Everything is made fresh and from scratch – nothing pre packaged, in a can or bottle in their kitchen. Their dairy is all fresh and local…the sour cream is produced, stamped and sealed by local Mexican artiseans, who also provides the restaurants cheeses (Queso Oaxaca, Queso Fresco and Cotija) right in Toronto. In the Spring, Summer and Fall, all the produce is local with the exception of avocados and you may find some older women making homemade tortillas made fresh with only corn and water.
Being the gluttonous foodie I am, my eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I obvi ordered more than necessary – but all in the name of a food blog post of course. In addition to the plethora of margaritas (there are roughly about 8 to choose from) I ordered tortilla chips with ceviche marinated with lime and chili and guaca fresca (fresh guac), tacos de pescado Baja style (white fish tacos battered in Tecate-Cerveza) and an order of tacos de pollo al carbon (Guajillo chipotle marinated free range chicken grilled over coals with fresh mango salsa).
Playa Cabana had become such a hit, that they recently opened another location on Dundas west but the first resto on Dupont is my preferred spot. Its smaller, more quaint and has such an authentic vibe.
What to Expect: Always a packed house at both locations, this is not the kind of restaurant you can just show up for an impromptu dinner, although you may be able to pull it off for lunch. So reservations are a MUST and should be made a week or two before you want to go. The restaurants attempt to make this process easy for cult patrons by allowing you to make your reservation on their website. Prices are very reasonable – margaritas $9, appetizers $8-19 and mains from $13-24.
Playa Cabana – Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar – Monday-Sunday 12pm-11pm
111 Dupont St. Toronto, ON 416.929-3911 www.playacabana.ca
Playa Cabana Cantina – Monday-Sunday 12pm-11pm
2883 Dundas Street West Toronto, ON 416-352-7767 www.playacabana.ca